The global landscape is rapidly shifting towards restricting or outright banning fluorine-based firefighting foams. By 2021, over 15 U.S. states had either banned or significantly restricted AFFF usage, with more states considering similar legislation. In Europe, several countries have ceased using AFFF. The European Chemicals Agency proposed a comprehensive ban on its manufacture, usage, and export within the EU.
In the U.S., the military, instrumental in developing AFFF, is moving towards discontinuing its use by October 2024. Similarly, the Federal Aviation Administration is planning to phase out AFFF in airports nationwide.
Let’s catch up on the latest AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit updates as the legal proceedings unfold.
What is the AFFF Lawsuit?
The Aqueous Film Forming Foam lawsuit alleges manufacturers and suppliers responsible for producing toxic firefighting foam.
The extent of impact varies based on duration and level of exposure, individual susceptibility, and specific PFAS compounds involved. This forms an important aspect of the ongoing AFFF lawsuit update.
Notable organizations like Tyco, DuPont, Chemguard, and 3M find themselves entangled in lawsuits. Allegations suggest that these AFFF manufacturers were aware of the health hazard associated with their products. However, they neglected to inform the public. This marks a significant development in AFFF litigation.
Interestingly, the government is mostly immune to PFAS exposure lawsuits due to discretionary function immunity.
The majority of AFFF lawsuit plaintiffs are veterans and individuals regularly exposed to the foam on the job after 1960.
Diagnoses related to AFFF foam exposure and military discharge form a significant portion of the AFFF Firefighting Foam MDL. There are over 3000 such pending firefighting foam lawsuits.
Crucially, it’s not just firefighters involved in these legal battles. Former and active military firefighters and officers, airport workers, and chemical industry workers are substantial portions of the plaintiff pool.
According to TorHoerman Law, the AFFF lawsuits seek compensation for damages, addressing health risks arising from being exposed to AFFF. If you suspect you have a case, it’s crucial to reach out to an experienced AFFF attorney. Your firefighting foam lawyer must be well-versed in toxic tort, chemical exposure, and personal injury lawsuits. This is vital for establishing liability and ensuring full compensation for harm caused by AFFF exposure—central to AFF lawsuit discussions.
Whether you’re eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit hinges on meeting criteria related to AFFF exposure and resulting health issues. It’s necessary to stay informed about the latest AFFF lawsuit update as the legal proceedings unfold.
In a settlement within the AFFF class action lawsuit, Johnson Controls, the maker of Tyco Fire Products, reached a $17.5 million agreement. This settlement marks a significant milestone in AFFF lawsuit history.
How Did the International Community Respond to AFFF Regulations?
According to a scoping review, a range of different regulatory approaches are at different stages of implementation across the globe. These focus on global settlements, from manufacturing and production to stewardship programs. They also include regulatory approaches to reduce emissions and exposure to PFAS.
- OECD countries have voluntarily discontinued toxic chemicals like some long-chain PFAAs, including PFSAs ( PFHxS, PFOS) and PFCAs like PFOA. In some countries, their production and use have been prohibited under regional, international, or even national regulatory frameworks.
- Over 25 chemical manufacturing companies are facing numerous product liability lawsuits. These include Chemguard, Tyco, DuPont and 3M, which manufacture and sell AFFF products.
Regulations Acknowledged Globally
Let’s talk about diverse and evolving international approaches to regulating AFFF and managing PFAS exposure.
The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority imposed restrictions on PFAS-containing firefighting foams, effective January 2023. A complete ban is anticipated by December 2025.
The Australian government and its states have implemented regulatory and voluntary measures, particularly focusing on PFOS and PFOA. A 2018 national agreement and a 2020 management plan outline strategies for responding to PFAS contamination and phase-out initiatives. Restrictions on PFAS in firefighting foams are enforced in certain states, with South Australia leading with a complete ban.
However, countries like China, Japan, and South Korea are aligning with the Stockholm Convention to manage PFA. They focus on actions like adding PFAS to priority pollutant lists and establishing new export regulations.
Comparing AFFF Regulations in Developing and Developed Nations
When comparing AFFF regulations between developed and developing countries, there are differences in the implementation and stringency of these regulations.
For instance, developed countries face numerous AFFF class action MDLs. Developing nations encounter pending AFF lawsuits due to limited resources and legal infrastructure.
In developed countries, regulations on AFFF usage are more comprehensive and strict. As far as the United States is concerned, several states have enacted specific laws to reduce PFAS exposure:
- Illinois: Enacted SB 3154 and HB 5003, prohibiting the discharge or use of AFFF for training or testing purposes. They even established a voluntary take-back program for old firefighting foam containing PFAS materials.
- Indiana: Implemented HB 1189, restricting the use of AFFF unless appropriate containment measures are in place.
- Kentucky: Enacted Ky. Rev. Stat. 227.395, which limits AFFF, demanding best industry practices to prevent uncontrolled environmental releases.
- Massachusetts: Established extensive take-back programs for AFFF disposal and mandates manufacturers. This is meant to notify purchasers if PPE contains PFAS chemicals under SD 1478 and HD 3661.
Moreover, the U.S. Department of Defense maintains specific performance standards, known as MIL-SPEC, for firefighting foams used on military bases. These standards require that a foam extinguishes a fuel fire within 30 seconds. So far, none of the new foam formulations have successfully met every criterion of these stringent tests.
Consequently, FAA-regulated airports and military installations have not yet transitioned from AFFF. Efforts are underway to revise the MIL-SPEC regulations to include the use of fluorine-free foams.
In contrast, developing countries often face challenges in enforcing environmental decrees. Aspects like lack of technical expertise, inadequate resources, and other socio-economic constraints influence such restrictions. The focus in these regions is often on managing risks and improving regulatory compliance in general.
The rules for AFFF are different in rich and poor countries. Rich nations have strict rules on making and using AFFF, stopping some harmful substances willingly. They also have plans to reduce harm. But poorer countries may struggle because they don’t have enough resources. Rules about water safety and legal actions also differ between rich and poor nations.